By Tresa Erickson

You’ve lived in fairly large homes for much of your life, and while you have enjoyed having space to stretch out, you’re starting to realize that big isn’t necessarily better now that you are older. All of the cleaning and maintenance required for your large home is proving to be difficult and you’re ready to downsize.

As with anything, there are pros and cons to downsizing. One major benefit comes in terms of the bottom line. Depending upon the price you get for your current home, you could make a profit, perhaps enough to pay for your new home outright and avoid having a mortgage altogether. Even if you do end up with a mortgage, your house payments will probably be lower, giving you more money each month for living expenses. Smaller homes generally cost less to maintain. Utility bills are not as high, especially if the home is energy efficient, and repair costs can be substantially lower.

One of the major drawbacks to downsizing is the reduction in square footage. For some people, however, this can be a real plus. With less space overall, you may find that you make fewer purchases and save money. You may also find that you have less work to do around the house and more time to do the things you love, like playing cards or tennis with your pals. The stress of the demands of owning a large home could become a thing of the past.

Of course, moving to a smaller home will require some adjustments. Because you don’t have as much square footage, you may have to store or get rid of some stuff. You may also have to scale back on entertaining or throw large parties off-site. If space is really tight, you may even have to arrange for guests to stay elsewhere.

Along with the loss of space might come a loss in convenience and prestige. Your new home might not offer as many amenities as your old home or project the same image. There might not be room for that garden tub or steam shower, and depending upon the location and appearance of the home, it may not look the part you would like and convey your social standing.

Before you downsize, make certain the pros really do outweigh the cons for you. More importantly, check out the state of the housing market. Will you be able to sell your large home for the price you want? If not, you may want to consider staying right where you are and hiring services to assist you with the maintenance of your home.

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